“12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor believes Hollywood still marginalises people because of their sexuality.
The industry has been accused of a lack of diversity following the 2016 Academy Awards nominations, where no African-American actor or director was nominated for a top honour for the second year in a row, but the actor “believes it’s harder for someone to succeed if they’re homosexual than if they’re black.
“I hope this changes (but) I think it’s probably harder tobe gay,” he said.
“I think sexuality is still marginalised in a way that is pretty open. I think it’s tough. I think for one’s own piece of mind, for one’s own sense of self and psychological health, I feel like that’s the horrible thing about ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’… Because it produces a sense of shame, and therefore this sense of being ‘less than’, you know? And I hate that. I hate that for anybody.”
But Ejiofor, 38, argues that at the same time, a person’s sexuality isn’t anyone else’s business, and if the individual wants to, they should be able to declare their preference without fear of it affecting their opportunities in life in any way.
“If I hadn’t had the opportunities and the fortune that I have had, of course I would have a very different perspective to that, but I can’t be completely intellectually dishonest about what has happened in my life… It’s a tiny bit more nuanced for me to talk about,” he explained.